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Trump vetoes bill to end US involvement in Yemen war

Trump vetoes bill to end US involvement in Yemen war

The resolution was a harsh bipartisan rebuke to Trump that took the historic step of curtailing a president's war-making powers - a step he condemned in a statement announcing his veto.

Yemen's civil war pits the Saudi-led coalition against Houthi rebels backed by Iran.

In vetoing the resolution, Trump lashed out at Congress for passing it.

Tuesday's veto was the second of Trump's presidency. The president has strongly backed Saudi Arabia, even after the killing of dissident Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi and after U.S. intelligence agencies determined that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was complicit in the murder. With the resolution, members of Congress were acting on their concerns about the thousands of civilians killed in coalition airstrikes since the conflict began in 2014.

Many lawmakers also criticized the president for not condemning Saudi Arabia for the killing of Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi who lived in the United States and had written critically about the kingdom.

The president also said that the measure would harm bilateral relations and interferes with his constitutional power as commander in chief.

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Congress passed a historic War Powers resolution in early April, featuring strong bipartisan support, representing much of President Trump's foreign policy vision of "America First", which contended that America should intervene less overseas and focus more on rebuilding the country. Trump argued that U.S. support for the bloody war between the Saudi-backed Yemeni government and Iran-aligned Huthi rebels was necessary for a variety of reasons, "first and foremost" to "protect the safety of the more than 80,000 Americans who reside in certain coalition countries".

Supporters of the War Powers Resolution argued the U.S. shouldn't be involved in the war without explicit permission from Congress. Opponents argued the United States does not have "boots on the ground" and is offering noncombat technical assistance to Saudi Arabia, an ally. The Senate vote last month was 54-46.

The conflict has killed tens of thousands of people and spawned what the United Nations calls the world's most dire humanitarian crisis, with the country on the brink of starvation. "Yet the President has cynically chosen to contravene a bipartisan, bicameral vote of the Congress & perpetuate America's shameful involvement in this heartbreaking crisis".

"We can not end the conflict in Yemen through political documents like S.J. Res. 7", Mr. Trump said. "The House of Representatives calls on the President to put peace before politics, and work with us to advance an enduring solution to end this crisis and save lives".

After the Senate passed the resolution last month, the White House argued it was flawed and would undermine the fight against extremism. Vetoing the measure is an "effective green light for the war strategy that has created the world's worst humanitarian crisis to continue", said International Rescue Committee president and CEO David Miliband.